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BUSINESS NOTES STATE FARM PLANS REORGANIZATION.

Byline: - From staff and wire reports

Insurance giant State Farm announced a reorganization Friday that it said will consolidate many of its administrative and support operations.

The company said it will combine its 25 administrative regions in the United States and Canada into 13 zones, consolidate 10 long-term health-care insurance programs into two offices and move many agent and customer support operations to a single location.

Spokesman Steve Vogel said the changes will result in no layoffs, though about 200 employees will be given the option to relocate when their jobs move to new cities as the reorganization is implemented over the next few years or could be offered other positions.

He said a few hundred more employees may be asked to change jobs at their current locations.

Steel imports hurt U.S. firms

Certain steel imports from Argentina and South Africa are hurting U.S. steel companies, the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled Friday in a unanimous decision.

The ruling means tariffs the Commerce Department set last month on hot-rolled steel will be imposed immediately, department spokesman Kurt Cultice said.

The tariff on steel from Argentina is 86.2 percent; from South Africa, 9.3 percent.

Hot-rolled steel ends up in just about every steel product, from welded pipe tubes to automobile body frames.

Nine American companies and two unions filed a lawsuit with the trade commission last fall alleging 11 countries were selling hot-rolled steel at below-market prices in violation of trade laws, a practice known as dumping.

Northrop extends bid for Newport

Northrop Grumman Corp. has extended its hostile bid for Newport News Shipbuilding Inc. for a fifth time.

The deadline was moved from Aug. 16 to Aug. 30.

Los Angeles-based Northrop first made the surprise bid in May, saying it would match the $67.50-per-share offer being tendered by defense contractor General Dynamics of Falls Church, Va.

The Newport News, Va.-based shipbuilder designs and constructs nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and submarines for the Navy and services ships in the Navy fleet.

Northrop Grumman is General Dynamics' primary competitor for Navy shipbuilding contracts.

The Newport News board of directors in June voted to support the offer by General Dynamics but took no position on Northrop. Analysts have equated the board's silence with a rejection.

US Airways faces possibility of strike

Days after telling employees that it needs concessions to compete, US Airways finds itself in a 30-day countdown to a possible flight attendants' strike at one of its regional carriers.

The 250 flight attendants at Piedmont Airlines, which operates as US Airways Express, would be free to strike at 12:01 a.m. Sept. 16. Union leaders say that without an agreement, they would likely stage random, unannounced strikes on various routes.

Piedmont flies 68 routes for US Airways.

The Salisbury, Md.-based carrier operates a fleet of Dash 8 turboprops, seating 37 passengers, and is one of four regional carriers owned by US Airways and operated as US Airways Express. In addition, five independent carriers operate as US Airways Express.

The countdown in the mediated talks comes after more than two years of negotiations, which have produced tentative agreements in about half the contract areas, but none on the key issue: wages.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 18, 2001
Words:537
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